His skills include communication (both written and oral), professional instruction/education, chemical analysis, optical design and analysis, sensor design (electronics and optics), spectroscopic analysis (chemical and materials), electrochemical analysis, materials characterization, policy analysis, grant writing and project management.

On a personal note, Dr. Smestad is an eighth generation Californian and a descendant of early Spanish settlers to Monterey and the San Francisco Bay Area, and he is involved in historical and educational activities related to his heritage.